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Patches
Clarence Carter


I was born and raised down in Alabama
On a farm way back up in the woods
I was so ragged my folks used to call me Patches
Papa used to tease me about it
But deep down inside he was strict 'cause he'd done all he could

My papa was a great old man
I can see him with his shovel in his hands
You see, education he never had
But he did wonders when the times got bad
The little money from the crops he raised
Barely paid the bills we made

Oh, life would kick him down to the ground
When he tried to get up, life would kick him back down
One day Papa called me to his dyin' bed
Put his hand on my shoulder and said:

Patches, I'm dependin' on you, son
To pull the family through
My son, it's all left up to you

Two days later Papa passed away
I became a man that day
So I told Mama I was gonna quit school
But she said that was Daddy's strictest rule

So ev'ry mornin' 'fore I went to school
I fed the chickens and I chopped wood too

Sometimes I felt that I couldn't go on
I wanted to leave, just run away from home
But then I'd remember what my daddy said
The tears in his eyes on his dyin' bed; he said:

Patches, I'm dependin' on you, son
I tried to do my best
It's up to you to do the rest

Then one day a strong rain came and washed all the crops away
At the age of 13 I thought I was carryin' the weight of the
whole world on my shoulders
And mama knew what I was goin' through, 'cause...

Ev'ry day I had to work the fields
'Cause that's the only way we got our meals
You see, I was the oldest of the family
And ev'rybody else depended on me
Ev'ry night I heard Mama pray:
Lord, give him the strength to face another day

The years have passed and the kids are grown
The ages brought Mama to a brand new home
Lord knows, people, I shed some tears
But my daddy's voice kept me through the years, saying:

Patches, I'm dependin' on you, son
To pull the family through
My son, it's all left up to you

I can still hear Papa when he said:
Patches, I'm dependin' on you, son
I tried to do my best
It's up to you to do the rest
...and fade


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